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Knights to hit the ice in Omaha

Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation vice-chairman Dave Parker and Calgary Flames general manager and head coach Darryl Sutter introduced today the name and word-mark logo for the American Hockey League’s newest franchise, the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights.

“We are very proud of the connection between Omaha’s team name and the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation,” said Parker. “The name and logo recognize the Knights’ commitment to professional hockey in Omaha, the Foundation’s mission of building a more prosperous heartland and our strong partnership with the Calgary Flames organization.”

The logo depicts a knight’s head in steel armor with flames flowing from the back of his helmet. The head and flames are a derivation of Calgary’s flaming “C” — the primary logo of the NHL hockey club. Below the knight is the official name of the hockey club with a medieval sword forming the “T” in the word “Knights.” At the bottom of the logo is the 1939 original symbol of Omaha’s first professional hockey team, also named the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights. The colors are red, dark red, gold, grey and black. The logo is considered a word-mark and will appear on most of the organization’s printed material, memorabilia and advertising. An unveiling of the team’s jersey logo and complete game uniform is scheduled for later this summer.

“It’s an exciting day when your team begins to create an identity,” said Sutter. “Our players will be very proud to carry the name and insignia of the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights. This will form a foundation for building a hockey club in Omaha that represents the same high standards of this community and the qualities required for success both in Omaha and Calgary.”

In addition, the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights announced complete ticket options and a pricing plan for the 2005-2006 AHL season at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. Information is available at the Knights’ new Web site.

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League serves as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League clubs, and has been home to more than 100 members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 2003-04, more than 80 percent of all NHL players had come through the AHL, including more than 400 who appeared in both leagues during that season alone. The AHL has established a new all-time attendance record in 2004-05 with nearly 7 million fans attending games across North America. The 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs are currently in the second round with Calgary’s current affiliate, the Lowell Lock Monsters, still competing.

The Calgary Flames have been a member of the National Hockey League since 1980 and will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary in their western Canadian city with the 2005-2006 season. During that time, the Flames have played in the Stanley Cup Finals on three occasions, winning the championship in 1989. Most recently, the Flames competed for the Cup but fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a thrilling seven game series in 2004. Twenty three members of the 2004 Western Conference champion Flames were AHL alumni, including Miikka Kiprusoff, Mike Commodore, Robyn Regehr and 2005 AHL All-Star Chuck Kobsaew.

The Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation is a 110-year-old philanthropic organization with programs that focus on celebrating our heritage, recognizing and fostering volunteerism, and developing new projects that benefit the community, state and region.